The 2008 version of Microsoft SQL Server, a relational database management system that uses Transact-SQL as its primary query language, has finally hit the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) milestone. The new version was slated for a "third quarter 2008" timeframe. The previous build, RC0, was released on June 18, 2008. Trial versions are available for download, and the new version is available on the August price list (prices are not changing compared to the previous version).
This update to SQL Server provides new capabilities such as support for policy-based management, auditing, large-scale data warehousing, geospatial data, and advanced reporting and analysis services.
The latest version of the Microsoft database platform has been touted as a major improvement and is already being adopted by the industry. SQL Server 2008 Community Technology Previews (CTPs) were downloaded 450,000 times by customers and partners, and some 75 large-scale applications are already in production. Furthermore, Microsoft estimates that more than 1,350 applications are being developed by nearly 1,000 Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) on SQL Server 2008.
The new version of SQL Server is available in the following editions:
- SQL Server 2008 Enterprise: a data management and business intelligence platform that provides enterprise-class scalability, data warehousing, security, advanced analytics, and reporting support for running business-critical applications. With this edition, it is possible to consolidate servers and perform large-scale online transactional processing.
- SQL Server 2008 Standard: a complete data management and business intelligence platform that provides ease of use and manageability for running departmental applications.
- SQL Server 2008 Workgroup: a reliable data management and reporting platform that delivers secure, remote synchronization and management capabilities for running branch applications. This edition includes core database features and is easy to upgrade to the Standard or Enterprise edition.
- SQL Server 2008 Web: designed for highly available, Internet-facing Web-serving environments running on Windows Server. SQL Server 2008 Web provides the tools necessary to support low-cost, large-scale, highly available Web applications or hosting solutions for customers.
- SQL Server 2008 Developer: allows developers to build and test any type of application with SQL Server. This edition features all of the functionality of SQL Server Enterprise (applications developed on it can easily be upgraded to the Enterprise edition) but is licensed only for development, test, and demo use.
- SQL Server 2008 Express: a free edition of SQL Server that features core database functionality including all of the new SQL Server 2008 data types. This edition is ideal for learning and building desktop and small server applications, and for redistribution by ISVs.
- SQL Server Compact 3.5: a free embedded database designed for developers ideal for building stand-alone and occasionally connected applications for mobile devices, desktops, and Web clients. SQL Server Compact runs on all Microsoft Windows platforms, including the Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems, and on Pocket PC and smartphone devices.
SQL Server 2008 (overview, privacy statement), previously codenamed Katmai, will be succeeding SQL Server 2005, which was last updated with SP2. Microsoft has previously said that SP3 for SQL Server 2005 will arrive in the fourth quarter of 2008.